Purpose and Significance

Many university graduates leave academia at the end of their studies and try to use the knowledge and skills they acquired during their training in industrial and other sectors. This transition can be stressful for many students since they are not aware of the requirements of the new working environment and may have difficulty adapting to it. The mismatch between training and the job market may influence students’ well-being and impact their efficiency in one of the most critical periods of their life. In the current project, considering well-being as a process-oriented concept, we are interested in exploring the interaction between students and the career services at academic institutions. More specifically, we are interested to understand the gap between the existing resources and students’ perception of existing support mechanisms.

In line with the priorities of EUniWell, the outcome of this project can help us understand the factors influencing the well-being of higher education graduates. Understanding these factors allows us to design and implement interventions that reduce the existing gaps and improve individuals’ wellbeing.

Implementation Method and Timeline

The project starts with an online meeting (26 April 2022). PIs from the University of Birmingham, the University of Florence, and the University of Nantes present the existing career support network structure at those institutions. Graduate students, representatives of career support teams and other researchers interested in the topic will be invited to join the meeting. The outcome of the meeting will be guidelines for interviews that will be conducted with career support teams’ staff (4 staff from each university). A questionnaire will be extracted from those interviews. Students and graduates will be invited to complete the online questionnaire and measures related to perceived well-being. Data from the responses to the questionnaire will be analysed to explore the relationship between perceived gap sand well-being. A concluding meeting and workshop will be the final stage of the project. In the workshop, plans for upcoming projects and suggestions for the next meeting will be discussed.

Expected Outcomes

Deliverable of the first stage of the project is the guideline for interviews. The second stage provides material for the development of the questionnaire on the perceived gap in the requirements of the job market and services provided by academic institutions. The questionnaire and the data acquired from students at participating and other universities will be the deliverable for the next stage. The project's final deliverable is a paper exploring the relationship between the perceived gap in the requirement of the job market and available services and the quality of life in students and university graduates. A concluding workshop will deliver the outcome to the public and provide suggestions for the next step in this line of research.